Our members had an outsized presence during three days of virtual public testimony to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week, sharing from the heart why a proposal to reduce methane pollution from oil and gas operations matters so deeply to families everywhere. Some 38 members told the EPA why parents support strong methane regulations to protect our children’s health and slow the rate of climate change now. Excerpts from their powerful testimony can be found here. Between now and January 14th, you, too, can tell the EPA that you support federal methane rules.
MOMS MAKE NOISE ON NEED TO CUT METHANE
Public News Service listened to the virtual public testimonies given at the EPA last week in reaction to a proposal to reduce methane pollution, noting that Pennsylvania was well-represented as one of the country’s largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the country: “Rajani Vaidyanathan, a Pittsburgh resident and volunteer with Moms Clean Air Force, said during the hearing the changes would have a big impact on her community, where unconventional wells are within a two-mile radius of schools. [Rajani] said state lawmakers have failed to protect families from pollutants. ‘These decisions to allow unconventional wells in our residential neighborhoods are allowed to rest with the local municipal government, who don’t always do the due diligence for fear from these large companies who threaten to sue. We really need strong, federal protection.’”
In Colorado, field organizer Laurie Anderson writes in the Colorado Sun that her state has a tremendous opportunity to “hit its emission reductions targets for the oil and gas sector to protect our children’s health and future” using direct regulation at the state level. Colorado has a goal of reducing the oil and gas contribution to carbon pollution by 60 percent by 2030. As Laurie says, direct regulation of this pollution “is the best way to get reluctant oil and gas operators to reduce harmful methane” despite loud opposition from oil and gas operators opposed to stronger standards. As Laurie implores: “Let’s use the tools and technologies we have now that will work. Direct regulation will help clean up oil and gas pollution, and the data can provide transparency about our air quality.”
PRESERVING A LIVABLE FUTURE FOR FLORIDIANS
Writing in the Orlando Sentinel, Florida field organizers Yaritza Perez and Gabriella Da Silva (pictured above) call for the Senate to pass the Build Back Better Act), which would usher in meaningful investments to fight health- and climate-harming carbon pollution. For Yartiza and Gabi, this bill goes beyond politics: “It’s about preserving a livable future, and as the bill now heads to the Senate, it is vital our senators act swiftly to pass the [Build Back Better Act]…. Florida cities like Orlando are at the epicenter of the climate crisis. What we do now will determine the kind of Florida we will build for our children. Will it be a Florida built upon resiliency that leaves no community behind? Or will it be a Florida where polluters continue to profit, paying no mind to the communities that they cast aside and are taking so much from? It should be an easy choice for all our leaders in Congress to make. Our families are counting on our lawmakers, especially, to bring the Build Back Better Act across the finish line. Congress, let’s get this done!”
GOING ELECTRIC IN THE HEARTLAND
Our Iowa field organizer Karin Stein spoke to ABC affiliate Local 5 in Iowa about why she supports federal funding to help the state ditch diesel buses in favor of electric buses: “I think we can all agree that we want cleaner air for children, for vulnerable people, for everybody,” as Karin told the local TV news station. As she explained, a possible game-changer could be the recently signed Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law, which sets aside $2.5 billion for electric school buses: “We are grateful because it is the biggest step in that direction that we have seen. I know that some Iowa school districts are interested in electrification.”
BABY FOOD IS NO PLACE FOR HEAVY METALS
Senior Legislative Manager Trisha Dello Iacono is featured in a recent Spotlight on America investigative story about heavy metals in baby food. This year, a pair of Congressional reports revealed alarming levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury in baby food. “[To] think I have … children that I’ve fed with baby food that could be potentially laced with heavy metal contaminants is really upsetting.” Most troubling, however, says [Trisha], is the lack of urgency by those with the power to lower the levels of contamination in baby food – such as the FDA and the baby food industry itself. “When the report[s] came out, Josie, my almost-two-year-old, was still heavily relying on baby food. She’s now almost outgrowing that stage and we still don’t have answers.”
- The podcast Esto Pasa Aqui recently invited Florida field organizer Yaritza Perez to discuss her clean-air activism and shed light on what the bipartisan infrastructure funding law and Build Back Better Act mean for our climate future.